I took a break from the Proverbs 31 woman to celebrate what God has given through our one-year-old marriage. But I'm not finished with her just yet. She's still teaching me, and maybe she's teaching you too.
Today, verse 25b is the focus:
She is clothed with dignity and strength,
she can laugh at the days to come.
Confession: When I used to read that verse, I would get really discouraged. I thought that you could only laugh at the days to come if you had gotten your ducks lined up in the same row this lady has, because by the time you read that she's laughing about the future, you know that she's taken care of the present extremely well. And I knew that I wasn't taking care of my present with that much excellence.
Another confession: I spent some time with my calendar this morning. I've gotten to the point in life where I forget things, and have started using a planner and calendar to facilitate. By the time I was at the month of April, my hands were literally shaking. Anxiety? Too many cups of coffee? I can't be quite sure which one was more responsible. I just know that while I was looking at the days to come, I was not laughing.
Like every other woman, I have things on my calendar that I look forward to and those that I'm not looking forward to. Even for the ones that I'm excited about it's easy to fall into worry, "Will there enough money for that?" "How much progress will I have made on that project by then?" "Will I even have time to sit down that day?" And that's what I think about the good stuff!
I think that my old view of verse 25b had me thinking- work harder, with more diligence, with more excellence, and you will be able to enjoy the good things and endure the bad things and come out on top! But I am abandoning that kind of thinking because it's me-focused, and I don't know about you, but I'm tired of me. ;)
Our church has been doing a series on Heaven and Hell. (Gulp!) It's been really excellent. At the same time, I've been focusing on Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life in Snapshots. Put it all together, and I am thinking very differently about the "days to come." What I mean is, who says those days are even on a calendar? What if thinking about the eternal good times that the Bible promises is the key to laughing our way through the hectic days we are living now.
For me, I think that is the answer. Here's why. After spending that time with my calendar, I came to my computer and, shaking hands and all, typed the Lord a letter. I do that sometimes as a form of prayer- because I'm a writer and I don't really know how to think clearly without pushing buttons on a keyboard, a terrible vice, but I think He gets the heart behind it.
The result was that I was reminded that Jesus is King. And Jesus is Truth. And Jesus is Love. And Jesus already knows all of the things that I'm worried about and He's told me that I can trade Him my worries for His yoke- His work for me, and that's going to feel lighter, though it still hurts the heart a good bit. But mostly, my heart leaps at knowing that in "the days to come," I will be with Him and He will know me and accept me completely. I won't be in a constant frenzy about what I'm accomplishing and how productive I am. I won't have to worry about being misunderstood ever again (Hallelujah!) Every lie that's been told about me will be corrected, every hurt healed, every tear wiped away. And I will be with Jesus, and my heart will finally be whole. Those are my "days to come."
So the question is- where are your days to come going to be spent? Do you have assurance that they will be spent in the Kingdom where peace and righteousness and truth reign? How do you know?
I challenge you- if you don't know where you are going to spend your eternal days, or if your answer is anything other than "Because Jesus invited me into the eternal Kingdom, and I accepted His invitation"- talk to someone about that. Email me. Talk to a Christian friend, a pastor or read 1 Corinthians 15. Don't spend another day thinking that your calendar is the sum of the days to come, and becoming overwhelmed, frustrated or despairing because of it.
Take hope and heart- because the days to come will be spent with Jesus Christ, the King and Righteous Judge. He will lift you up, restore you, repair your heart, speak the truth about you, and reward you for your faithful service to Him during these days. And that, friends, is a good reason to laugh- for joy!